Arteta Must Finally Cash in on Arsenal “Liability” Who’s Worth £69m Less Than Saliba

Mikel Arteta’s tenure at Arsenal spans over four and a half years, witnessing a transformative evolution in the team since his inheritance of the managerial position in December 2019. The changes witnessed over the last two seasons have been nothing short of seismic.

At the commencement of the 2022/23 season, Arsenal found themselves recuperating from a failed top-four challenge, abruptly halted at the stronghold of their arch-rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. This setback plunged expectations to a nadir, with Phil McNulty, the BBC’s Chief football writer, unequivocally declaring, “I do not see them as title contenders.”

Nonetheless, fortified by acquisitions like Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko, along with the assimilation of William Saliba, Arsenal embarked on a challenge, falling short albeit, but rekindling their competitive spirit in the current season.

Despite Saliba’s steadfast presence in the team and Jesus’s commendable tally of eight goals and eight assists, Zinchenko’s fortunes have taken a downturn. Consequently, it appears opportune for the club to contemplate parting ways with him.

Oleksandr Zinchenko’s Arsenal Career

In July 2022, Zinchenko finalised his move to Arsenal from Manchester City for £32 million, swiftly stepping into the role of the Gunners’ primary left-back, displacing Kieran Tierney.

Zinchenko vs Tierney 22/23
PlayerZinchenkoTierney
Appearances3336
Starts2815
Goals11
Assists22
All Stats via Transfermarkt

In his debut season with the club, the Ukrainian participated in 33 matches, starting in 28 of them, while the Scotsman only managed 15 starts out of 36 appearances. Had the former City player not suffered from injuries, it’s probable he would have started even more games.

Tierney described the Ukrainian as being capable of playing as “one of the most central players,” which led to him becoming the club’s primary left-back last season. This transition wasn’t surprising, considering Arteta’s role in converting the 27-year-old from a central player to a full-back during their time at City.

Despite his attacking prowess, the left-footed player often struggled defensively, as evidenced by Liverpool’s equalizer at Anfield last season, which resulted from his defensive error against Trent Alexander-Arnold. While the manager initially persisted with him at the beginning of this season, it became evident that his defensive vulnerabilities were a recurring issue.

Zinchenko’s defensive shortcomings were highlighted once again during a crucial moment away at Anfield, where Mohamed Salah capitalized on his poor defending to score the equalizing goal. Gary Neville even went as far as labeling him a “liability” due to his defensive lapses.

Arteta has increasingly favoured Jakub Kiwior over the former City player since the start of the year. Additionally, with Takehiro Tomiyasu returning to full fitness and Jurrien Timber expected to play a significant role next season, Zinchenko’s position in the team hierarchy is likely to diminish even further.

Starts since the turn of the year
PlayerStarts
Oleksandr Zinchenko6
Jakub Kiwior11
All Stats via Transfermarkt

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Given the dwindling value, it’s likely prudent for the club to seize the opportunity and cash in now.

Oleksandr Zinchenko’s Valuation in 2024

Zinchenko’s current value, as per CIES Football Observatory, stands at a mere €20m, equivalent to approximately £17m. This marks a staggering £15m decrease compared to the amount the club invested in him less than two years ago.

Valuations of Arsenal’s 2022/23 signings
PlacePlayerValuationsOriginal FeePosition
1Gabriel Jesus€80m (£69m)£45mLW/ST
2Leandro Trossard€40m (£34m)£27mLW/ST
3Jakub Kiwior€30m (£26m)£20mLB/CB
4Oleksandr Zinchenko€20m (£17m)£32mLB
5Fabio Vieira€10m (£9m)£34mAM/RW/LW
6Jorginho€5m (£4m)£12mDM/CM
All Valuations via the CIES Football Observatory

The recent valuation adjustment positions him as the fourth most valuable player the club acquired during the 2022/23 season who remains with the team. This places him ahead of both Jorginho, aged 32, and Fabio Vieira.

Adding to the setback, his value now falls significantly short of Saliba’s, another player who joined the team concurrently. According to CIES, Saliba is appraised at €100m, approximately £86m.

Consequently, the 23-year-old finds himself valued at £69m less than his defensive counterpart. In essence, the Ukrainian player’s worth is now a mere 14% of Saliba’s current appraisal.

Although this might seem disproportionate, Saliba has notably solidified his presence within the team this season. He boasts a 100% starting record in both league and Champions League matches, earning accolades such as inclusion in Jamie Carragher and Neville’s team of the season on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

While Zinchenko significantly contributed to Arsenal’s ascent in the league last year, his performance downturn this season and diminishing significance within the team have logically led to a decrease in his valuation.

Given these circumstances, it would be prudent for Arsenal to seek a buyer and allow the former City player to depart this summer to mitigate further depreciation in his value.

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